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  • Writer's pictureBarry Shirley

Mumbo Jumbo News (Issue 8) July 2020

Hi Guys. In this July blog (Issue 8). I would like to contemplate the subject of unconditional self-love.

As in my previous blogs, I will draw on the views and opinions of past and current masters, sages, mystics, gurus, philosophers and generally wise people. These blog posts are designed to only give you a ‘taste’ of the information, knowledge and wisdom that is out there.

What is love? There is a wide general and academic description of love and its different types and attributes which could be discussed in great depth. However, generally, in an abstract sense, love refers to a feeling of strong attraction and emotional attachment.

What is conditional love? In a simple sense, this type of love is the kind that requires certain circumstances to exist (i.e. with conditions - mostly limiting - attached).

What is unconditional love? It is love with no ‘ifs or buts’. This love is given unreservedly no matter what the situation is.

Self-love is quite a complex thing and whilst different by escalating degrees from self-acceptance and self-esteem it requires a definite sense of self (i.e. your individual nature/being - i.e. human beingness) which is recognised by you and not ascribed to you by virtue of your upbringing, culture, background, parents, peers, other influencing factors and ultimately the ego).

That is to say, there may be a lot of various discomforts arising if you don’t have any true understanding of your nature. These discomforts are said to be driven by the ego which give rise to negative emotions triggered by your habitual thoughts/beliefs, expectations by others of you and predominantly by self-judgement alone.

In this context you may be wearing ‘rose coloured glasses’ and you need to break out of this cage to understand your best position in this life.

There is a general phrase often quoted which says, “you must learn to love yourself before you can love anyone else”. This is probably the most axiomatic phrase ever stated. Amongst all our socialisation growing up and all the influences that affect us, we are rarely taught to love ourselves (although this appears to be remedied in some contemporary education areas).

From my understanding, unconditional self-love is essentially about loving yourself spiritually and the relationship you have with yourself (I will come back to this). Conditional self-love is something that is generally accepted as being driven by the ego. Whilst there is nothing wrong in pampering yourself, it could be self-limiting if you are also pandering to others’ expectations of how you look, should feel or socially react etc. (i.e. the ego likes to be in control and basically cuts you off from any love).

Obviously, the word love also connotes romance, passion and erotic attraction. These things are all part of the human condition and whilst narcissistic love should also be mentioned, it is seen as a love of oneself and provides a very shallow selfish, egoic outlook on life (e.g. see current prominent western leader for examples!).

If you are on a journey to discover unconditional self-love, you will probably need some guidance on the spiritual aspect (or you could in fact intuitively arrive at an ‘aha’ moment quite independently). The guidance I am suggesting is from a plethora of wise people from both the past and present and such knowledge is easily accessible from the internet and books.

Also, if in this predicament, you may well be suffering with self-doubt, anxiety, self-judgement and lots of other things the ego can throw at you. The pathway to unconditional self-love is sought through self-awareness, self-esteem and developing self-compassion (i.e. being kind to yourself and learning to respect yourself amongst other things).

Practicing self-compassion (see my previous blog post) is a very strong coping system. It can stop the sympathetic nervous system (flight/fight response) from engaging. If your mind is dwelling on self-judgement, anxiety or self-criticism, self-compassion is the next step to spiritual self-love.

An important factor and first step is to understand that we are all the same (i.e. no one is more superior than anyone else) and we are all reaching for the same things as safety, security, peace, comfort and community. Also, we are each of the same essence, infused with an animating life force generally called consciousness, soul, spirit, the Self or the divine spark and discovering your higher Self is all about letting your personal light shine.

The British Author and educational pioneer Frederick. C. Happald (1893 -1971) wrote on this aspect:

“The nature of man is not a single but a dual one. He has not one but two selves…

  • The phenomenal ego, of which he is chiefly conscious and which he tends to regard as his true self (i.e. small ‘s’ self), and a;

  • Non-phenomenal, eternal self, an inner man, the spirit, the spark of divinity within him, which is his true Self.

  • It is possible for a man (i.e. man representing the species of mankind), if he so desires and prepared to make the necessary effort, to identify himself with his true Self and so with the Divine Ground, which is of the same or like nature.

  • It is the chief end of man’s earthly existence to discover and identify himself with his true Self.

  • By so doing, he will come to an intuitive knowledge of the Divine Ground and so apprehend truth as it really is, and not as to our limited human perceptions it appears to be.

  • Not only that, he will enter into a state of being which has been given different names – Self Realisation, Salvation, eternal life, enlightenment, etc. (Mysticism: A Study and an Anthology – the Perennial Philosophy: P20. FC Happold -1963).

Deepak Chopra MD (US/Indian Author, Physician, Spiritual Teacher) comments on Love as follows: -

“A mother loves her new-born child without reservation, and romantic love, in its first stages of infatuation, can make the beloved seem perfect. But most of us doubt that love without reservation, love completely forgiving and accepting, exists in our everyday lives. Looking in the mirror, all of us see too many flaws and remember too many past wounds and failings to love ourselves without also putting a limit on that love.

In order to expand the love you experience now into unconditional love, you need to involve a spiritual element. There is a path to unconditional love, as with any spiritual aspiration, and on this path, there is a beginning, middle and end. Let me describe each a little to give you an idea of how the path unfolds.

Beginning: You see yourself as wanting and needing love, usually more than you are receiving. You feel insecure about being lovable, but our ego is there to boost you (or not) ………. (reference more in actual article).

Middle: When you aspire to higher kind of love, ego and neediness begin to count for much less. You feel that love can be a healing force that binds everyone. You can love someone else without needing anything from him or her. Such love begins to be less personal and attached. Your awareness expands, and you feel less insecure. ………... (reference more in actual article).

End: When all limitations are left behind, love becomes unconditional. You feel that it emerges from a spiritual source inside yourself. This is more than a feeling; you’ve tapped into a universal aspect of Being. No longer do you have a personal stake in the people you love. Pure compassion is possible now and a sense of belonging to the human family. Relationships involve no struggle or contending needs and wants. Love becomes a self-sufficient state of fulfilment…… “(reference more in actual article).

In his book, The Path of Love (Penguin Random House 1998), he expands on this concept and provides steps to achieve unconditional love.

Ancient Vedic literature (ancient Indian philosophy written in Sanskrit and many thousands of years old) describes a number of different aspects of love which meanings generally cast outward into the worldly aspects of our existence.

However, it also describes the Sanskrit phrase, ‘Atma Prema’ as unconditional self-love, i.e. the love of the higher Self and not any ego driven self (i.e. small ‘s’ self). Atma Prema arises from beyond the aspect of any of our perceptions of perhaps our ‘programmed’ lives and our perceived nature and is more to the fact that we are all one human race (i.e. oneness).

The 15th century Indian mystical poet Kabir Das said that; “The river that flows in you also flows in me.” When we learn to love ourselves and others, our love loses its boundary and becomes unconditional.

Also, check out the TED talk by Anita Moorjani (American Author and Speaker - YouTube)

Anita Moorjani had just hours to live when she arrived at the hospital in a coma on the morning of February 2nd, 2006. Unable to move as a result of the cancer that had ravaged her body for almost four years. Anita then entered another dimension, where she experienced great clarity and understanding of her life and purpose. Specifically, she had a Near Death Experience and an awakening of consciousness so profound that she realised she had always been perfect, complete, and not separate from Source. Also realising, it was not her time to die.

She felt the experience of oneness imprinted in her body and no longer questioned her worth or intuition. She knew it was not her time and astonished the doctors by making a full recovery and was completely cured in an incredibly short period of time. She indicated that there is absolutely nothing standing between you and all that unconditional love, and the simple joy of being alive. As a result, she was able to manifest what a life’s purpose really is (TED talk well worth watching).

Relevant Quotes

  • “Liberate yourself from all that you’ve been indoctrinated to believe during this lifetime. Release your true nature so that you can really see how powerful and magnificent you are.” - Anita Moorjani (American Author and Speaker).

  • “When you adopt the viewpoint that there is nothing that exists that is not part of you, that there is no one who exists who is not part of you, that any judgement you make is self-judgement, that any criticism you level is self-criticism, you will wisely extend to yourself an unconditional love that will be the light of the world.” - Harry Palmer (American author).

  • “The thought manifests as the word; The word manifests as the deed; The deed develops into habit; And habit hardens into character; So, watch the thought and its ways with care, and let it spring from love born out of concern for all beings...As the shadow follows the body, as we think so we become." - Buddha (Ancient Indian Philosopher, Spiritual Teacher, Founder of Buddhism 5th to 4th century BCE).

  • “It never ceases to amaze me: we all love ourselves more than other people but care more about their opinion than our own. If a god appeared to us–or a wise human being, even–and prohibited us from concealing our thoughts or imagining anything without immediately shouting it out, we wouldn’t make it through a single day. That’s how much we value other people’s opinions-instead of our own.” Marcus Aurelius (Roman Emperor and Stoic Philosopher - 161AD to 180AD).

Take Away

· Change the way you look at yourself.

· Always be yourself – embrace your uniqueness.

· All you need is love! Stop judging yourself.

· We are all the same – develop more self-compassion.

· Be kind to yourself – relax, you are enough.

· Try meditation – try Yoga.

Compiled by Baz Shirley. Contact:

*See also:

Instagram: @ bazabstractart

Facebook: Barry Shirley

And all the other posts on:

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